back to article Gov approval given for Saudi Eurofighter sale

The US government has given its approval for the sale of sensitive military technology to the Saudis in the form of Eurofighter combat jets developed cooperatively by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. A Tranche 1 Eurofighter in RAF service Headed for mothballs in the UK - and to the Saudis. Washington's approval is …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Well, I guess..

    ...they'll have to rename it to EMEAFighter now!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means.

    So said Inigo Montoya.

    Perhaps the deal should be Halal, rather than Kosher, since you're talking about the Saudi's.

  3. Matthew

    Waiting for Anti-Lewis Commentards...

    75% complete.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course the US approved it...

    ...because now Israel will demand the latest gee-whizz hardware from American companies to tackle the new Saudi threat.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How generous of them

    We're sooooo grateful for their permission.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    When coming up with the figures for how much a Eurofighter costs, you included the taxes paid by the thousands of workers in the UK who developed it? Or should we just give cash to help the US economy because it looks like we're saving money? Don't let facts get in the way of your anti-Eurofighter rants (I missed have missed the obligatory "could have bought us X helicopters" reference)

  7. Julian Bond

    before eventually being thrown away.

    When you say thrown away, could they be thrown to some enterprising Russian who could then rent them out for joy rides? Seeing as getting them flight approved in the UK is probably impossible. Or perhaps they could be thrown away to some Banana Republic. Like the next decade's newly capitalist Cuba.

  8. Zimon

    Open standards?

    Can you produce a Link 16 platform without giving the US Gov export veto rights?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear..

    >Waiting for Anti-Lewis Commentards...

    >By Matthew Posted Thursday 23rd October 2008 16:05 GMT

    >75% complete.

    Indeed, Lewis may like to think he understands the details of defence but somehow this article like so many seems to miss the key issues while providing a platform for the authors "it's not navy, it's sh*t" sentiments.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Re: mothballs

    My contacts (for example the Typhoon pilot I had a curry with last night) would claim any suggestion along those lines was bollocks.

    If anything they're short of aircraft, which is having a negative impact on training. The Germans have the same problem.

    Obviously Tranche 2 or 3 aircraft are preferable being the later build standard with the clever toys but the Tranche 1 aircraft aren't exactly useless as anyone who has flown one knows. Plus there's always scope to upgrade to the current build standard.

    Someone may be able to correct me but I seem to remember that one of the drivers behind the Saudi sales was to push a load of (slightly reworked) RAF Tranche 1 aircraft off in order to fund extra Tranche 2/3 replacements - anyone know if this is true? I certainly seem to remember it was proposed as a way of meeting the initial delivery schedule to Saudi as it's quicker to refurbish aircraft than to build them.

    Though given the Saudis have just spent a pile of money getting their Tornados upgraded for another 15+ years of service suggests they aren't exactly banking on the Typhoon being a replacement any time soon.

    Finally I'm interested to know where the £200m per aircraft comes from, as I thought the generally recognised cost was something like £63m? And I'd guess that includes the development costs. I suspect that the £200m figure is as reliable as the one giving the F-35 at ~$35m per unit...

    On another note, what exactly is the technology the US had to give permission for, assuming this was ever a problem for their Saudi allies? Radios maybe (MIDS terminals?), and some semiconductors in the avionics, plus some of the weapons fit? One suspects a lot of the potentially problematic bits would have been swapped out anyway as the Saudis rarely run the same spec aircraft as other nations - Tornado gives some idea as they weren't/aren't exactly the same as the UK variant.

    To be honest none of it will make any difference. The program will roll on regardless because none of the partners can afford the punitive terms of withdrawal, and those who want to have a poke at the program will continue to do so regardless of whatever the current reality is.

    All I can say is that I'm glad we aren't relying on antique Tornados given the way things seem to be building up at the moment, and I'm also glad we aren't relying on non-existent American aircraft to fill the gap especially when some politician might throw a strop and deny access to the software needed to use the thing...

  11. kain preacher

    I dont get it

    Why was the Euro fighter designed with so much US tech??? I mean as an American I want as much money coming over hear, but why let you military gear be designed by foreigners. Its not like you didn't know what the US was going to do.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    66.7 million

    232 fighters at a cost of 20billion, even if it is exactly 20 billion thats 87mil per plane, at 200 million per plane and an order for 232 that would be 46.4 billion, basically if we can flog 70 odd fighters for the 20 billion the 232 costs us, go for it. It costs £4.4 billion for 72 aircraft btw.

    200 million, you should start to right for the Sun.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC RE: Re: Mothballs

    > "All I can say is that I'm glad we aren't relying on antique Tornados given the way things seem to be building up at the moment ..."

    Building up? What building up?

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    kain preacher

    I expect its a bit like the M1A2 tank built by the US and widely claimed to be a US product, but the yanks never mention it wears chobham armor thanks to the brits who invented the stuff

  15. Sarev

    Red Arrows

    Can't they donate some Tranch 1 birds to the Red Arrows, to save them from driving those crappy old Hawks - or should we be thankful that this symbol of British military aviation supremacy isn't still limping around in Gnatts?

  16. Keith T

    Arming totalitarian dictatorships like Saudi Arabia?

    Arming totalitarian dictatorships like Saudi Arabia?

    Why waste the lives of young men in Iraq and Afghanistan when we support a regime as extreme as the Saudis?

  17. Hugh_Pym

    Don't quote US aircraft prices at me

    I think a brief trawl of the history of the RAF scrapping home produced hardware in favour of US kit will show the price (and capability ) is NEVER what was quoted.

    Wing shedding F111's anybody? Lovely Phantoms get 'em while the're outdated before the're delivered. The last decent 'plane the Americans let us have was the mustang and that was only only because it was a next-gen spitfire.

  18. yeah, right.


    Given how much of the American debt is held by the Saudis (the rest being mostly held by China), I'm hardly surprised that the Americans would allow this sale. If they didn't the Saudis might not play so nice with the next shipment of oil.

    @kain: As for why so much of this tech is designed by Americans, the answer is "it wasn't". It's usually designed by someone from a country with a working educational system (Canada, UK, most of Europe, half of Asia), who was either brought to the US, works for a US firm, or even was just outright stolen/copied by an American firm with more money to throw at lawyers than others.. All this only because the Americans got started early in the pirate stage and haven't stopped pillaging for 200 years, and the system they claim is their own is one where the rich get richer.

    So @kain preacher, it's not that the tech is necessarily designed by foreigners, it's that it's owned by foreigners. Which, if you believe the American history books, is the same thing.

  19. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    So, we finally know...

    just how little it takes to 'buy'

    £20 billion, it would seem.

  20. Chris Hamilton

    I'm impressed.

    The fact here in Blighty we even have (or are going to have) 144 of the crates is pretty impressive. Given the constant cutbacks to our defence, I had imagined that the RAF were flying around in half a dozen Tornados, held together with sellotape and brylcreem. Now we just need the budget for fuel and pilots, maybe some bombs, though we need to make sure the bombs are "people-friendly" given the recent hoo-haa over cluster bombs.

    As for our chums over the briney, they were probabaly more annoyed that if we sell the Saudis our jets, then they won't buy any from the US. Now, if and when we eventually go to war with our distant friends in the middle east (you all know it will happen some day), it will be a fair evenly-matched fight. Maybe we should sell them some Nukes, just to be sure.

    Mine is the camouflage one, with the grenades in the pocket.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Hugh_Pym RE: Mustang

    Mustang: Designed by Brits, Named by Brits, powered by Brit engine.

    And regarding the main point of the story, I thought the Eurofighter was supposed to be an air superiority fighter? I also believe it outclasses everything else in the air at the moment in aerial combat.

  22. Tony

    @Keith T

    Well said Keith.

    WTF are we doing selling anything more advanced than a peashooter to the Saudis, let alone our most advanced combat aircraft? It is a dodgy, oppressive and non-democratic regime.

    And before anyone says that if we don't then Russia/US/China will- that is no argument. It amounts to saying that if we don't profit from doing something irresponsible and immoral then someone else will. We should be better than that.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah, right

    Well I know were I live BAE is a mile from Lockheed. So if any thing was designed there, even if by foreign staff, Any thing designed there can't leave the US.

    @Keith T I wish the US would tell the damn Saudis to go to hell. Sorry I support an almost complete pull out of the middle east. There don't want us there fine lets go., but don't complain that we are not helping you out with cash..


  24. Phil B
    Thumb Down


    The usual Anti-British inaccurate crap from an ignorant no brainer with nothing better to do.

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